Detoxing. The Kundalini Yoga Perspective


There is a modern fashion with ‘going on a detox’, which normally implies restricting certain foods, a mono diet or even fasting on water and herbal teas or juices.

It is counter-intuitive to think that if you have less you feel more – more energised and more light!

The protein myth, in particular, perpetuates the idea that we need lots of protein and the meat and dairy industry obviously have a vested interest in perpetuating this myth.

Actually, excess protein just pushes the cells of the body to work harder.

In the short term you feel energised but often, later on, more tired.

In the longer term it doesn’t seem so wise to push the body to work harder…

Withdrawl/Die-Off Reactions

So detoxing the body by allowing it to rest and for excesses to be expelled is good for you; (it is common during a detox to have nausea or headaches as a consequence of the death of yeasts/unfriendly bacteria).

These die off reactions are usually short lived and just show that the body is dropping a toxic load.

Some of you will also be familiar with stopping coffee and getting headaches and feel shaking as a consequence of detoxifying from caffeine.

The thing is a lot of people detox and then binge and then detox again and so on but if you don’t overeat and you don’t take alcohol, sugar, too much animal protein, caffeine or drugs the body doesn’t need to detox much in the first place.

Eating Light and Summary

So my suggestion would be eat light and if you want to detox late spring when the weather starts to warm is a good time to do it.

Yogi Bhajan wrote a book called ‘The Art of Self-Healing’ and in there are many fasts, mono diets and foods for specific conditions as well.

In summary, it is worth asking the question why we need to go on a detox in the first place.

Yoga and meditation cultivate in us an increased awareness of our actions and the result of our actions.

Once Kundalini Yoga becomes an everyday practice we are less inclined to overeat or reach for the wrong kinds of food because we have more presence in each moment to make decisions that support our best self, and if we fall of the wagon every now and then we won’t fall too far because Kundalini Yoga will be there the next day to remind us to keep up.

A new understanding of the mind-body connection

All of us are experiencing the struggle that goes with transition and transformation.

In astrological terms we are on the cusp between the Piscean and Aquarian ages.

In our human evolution we have passed through the summer season, it is now late summer when the heat is being burnt out through the leaves, and the autumn winds are blowing the trees bare (the hope is what follows is a peaceful winter rather than a desolate nuclear wasteland!).

The stripping back that autumn brings is very helpful to a culture based in greed and excess.

The process of yoga is largely one of cleansing, and we are starting to realise that adding more (cars, houses, and relationships) to our lives does not help us to feel more prosperous in the long run.

The 5 Obstacles

If you’re reading this you may already sense that everyone has to burn their karma to find liberation.

The ancient Yogis maintained that there are only 5 true diseases:

  1. Lust
  2. Anger
  3. Pride
  4. Greed
  5. Attachment

These are known as the 5 passions or obstacles.

This is a huge claim and, if true, clearly points to the hold our mind and emotions have over our physical health.

We are here to get rid of all our attachments: our wilfulness, our greed, our anger, our pride – all our emotional dramas.

But something in us decides that it is too high a price to pay and we fall back under the sway of the ego-mind, forgetting that our spiritual discipline, our dharma, is our saving grace every time.

The Body

When we feel discomfort, we want to silence any cries from our bodies as quickly as possible.

Symptoms of dis-ease are commonly battled into submission by drug therapy, whether the distress is mental or physical.

This doesn’t consider the cause.

To view the body from a so called holistic perspective is to give life to the idea that whatever is manifesting is a result of karma.

That we have come here to learn lessons that we need to help us shed old skins and reach new ground.

In this we are all in a process of healing.

This means that the body is both a temporary container to maintain the soul on its journey to liberation and a sacred temple – as it is a container for the soul!

It is the only place in which alchemy can happen.

3 Levels of Health

Let us consider the 3 levels of health and how the 3 processes of yoga give us the tools to recapture the deep and lasting health that vitality brings.

Fitness: This is the correct use of the body. Each muscle, organ and thought has its own strength but at this level integration between them is limited.

For example, you may have good circulation and muscle tone but stress levels remain high and exercise only brings temporary relief, or it is done solely to look good and without much bodily awareness.

Health: Each instrument is synchronized with one another. There is a link between thoughts and emotions, actions and intentions.

Vitality. Something miraculous happens. Mind and soul work together. A strength is drawn on beyond the finite sense of body and mind.

We open the circuit to link more consciously to the abundant and universal life force.

Synchronicity is recognised as finding ourselves in the right place at the right time,

successfully engaged in the right activity. This is known as being in the zone in athletics.

All the preparation and training pay off in the moment (not ultimately, as is mistakenly assumed, by our own effort alone, but because we are met by grace; we are 40% responsible for the outcome; 60% is grace, sometimes thought of as luck, but it is actually the mark of the infinite).

The Yogic Process

There are 3 processes – Rejuvenate/Harmonise/Eliminate or Gather, Organise and Deliver/Destroy. (Yogi Bhajan takes the first letters of these words to make G.O.D.)

The gathering in process is the rejuvenating, strengthening, tonifying.

To harmonise is also the action of organising or balancing the energies.

To eliminate is to cleanse, to let go of something.

By eliminating, we bring about the change that comes about through the destruction of something else.

To the extent that we invest in one thing, something else is dying.

1. Rejuvenate/Tonify/Gather

This process provides 3 benefits:

  1. Bringing new energy in.
  2. Building up prana.
  3. Engaging the pingala (right side of the spine) & the raja guna (active).

Which come through:

  • Long Deep Breathing (LDB).
  • Inhalation and Retention of Inhale.
  • Breath of Fire (BOF) which is both rejuvenating and cleansing.

2. Balance/Harmonise

This is creating a balance between prana; drawing energy from the breath (also from food, sun, water etc) and apana (eliminative power).

This process provides 3 benefits:

  1. Creates a balance between prana and apana.
  2. When both prana and apana are strong they mix together at the navel to raise Kundalini through the Sushmana, the central channel which engages the sattvic guna (angelic realms).
  3. We build a bridge between our material and spiritual lives.

Which come through:

  • Practice of suspension at the top of the inhalation.
  • Practice of holding the breath out at the bottom of the exhale.



Yoga helps cleansing our body and mind, especially the organs involved in the breakdown of toxins; our liver and our kidneys and those involved in moving wastes from the body; the large intestine and bladder.

This process provides 3 benefits:

  1. Engaging apana, the force that helps us to eliminate what we don’t need psychically and physically.
  2. Engages the ida (left side) and the tama guna (passive, inertia).
  3. By knowing what to say no to (the know-how of the no) we bring about the change that comes through the destruction of something else because to the extent that we invest in one thing something else is dying; Eliminate to Illuminate.

Which comes through:

  • Exhalation and holding the breath out.
  • BOF (breath of fire).

Regulating Food Intake

Overeating and eating too much protein has now been found to be a major contributor to the disease process.

Regulating our food intake is an important contributor to health and a serious consideration for those living in an affluent Western society, where there is easy access to unlimited amounts.

There are many approaches to detox or cleansing, the details of which are beyond the scope of this article, but we would like to propose 2 efficient fasting methods:

Alternate fasting and 2-day fasting.

Alternate fasting =eating 400 – 600 grams one day with eating normally on the next day or 2 days fasting = eating normally for 5 days and fasting for 2 days (eating 400 – 600 grams).

This helps to reduce IGF-1 which determines the speed at which cells divide.

Research shows that slower cell division means that other cells have time to be repaired and the body doesn’t age so quickly.

Protein intake pushes the cells into more activity and so the body has to work harder.

When fasting IGF 1 reduces and therefore glucose levels reduce as the body burns fat instead of glucose.

My own experience and that of many fellow yogis confirms that the natural tendency to regulate the appetite according to the bodies needs happens as a consequence of a regular yoga and meditation practice.

Certain practices, such as long deep breathing through the left nostril or camel pose are specific for managing our tendency to overeat.

N.B. Under eating and too many extended fasts can also be bad for your health.

Paradox and Turn Around

2 other important factors regarding our bodies; the interesting paradox about the body is that we need to look after it, not for vanity, or for its own sake, but ultimately so that we can transcend it.

The tenth spiritual body is called the Radiant Body and our radiance depends on sacrificing our bodies and minds in the name of something greater than us.

Another way to say this is the only choice we have is: ‘What is Our Master?’

We are all deciding to do one thing over another.

In doing so we give certain activities or actions more prominence than others.

Do we know how to measure the value of one activity or even one thought over another?

Without a reference beyond ourselves we can only resort to the ego as our measuring stick.

The other fascinating and slightly infuriating aspect of the body is whilst many suggestions can be made as to what to do to keep the body healthy it may not work!

For example there is a link between the virtue of faith and the lungs and in normal circumstances our inspiration (inspirare – to breathe into), our faith, our gratitude comes from our lungs.

By someone may have weak lungs and be full of faith.

So the body sacrifices itself to bring out the virtue that it represents and anyway by the time we reach the end of our lives, hopefully this is what has happened.

Intentional and Unintentional Illness


We can say that there are intentional and unintentional illnesses; if you are told that too much sugar is bad for you but you keep on eating lots of sugar and you get type two diabetes then the cause and effect is more obvious (unless you remain in denial!).

If a baby is born with a congenital disease or a mental handicap, the parents are healthy and there are no obvious factors causing it then it’s not so easy to make sense of it.

One way to think about it is that we all have constitutional and inherited tendencies when we consider our whole physical, psychological and emotional make up.

Beyond this if we can accept that we are spiritual beings having a human experience’, then we can start to appreciate karma as the only reasonable explanation.

The Mind

‘As you think so you are’ is a common refrain but at our deepest level do we really know what we are and therefore what to think about in directing our minds?

How much of our sense of what and who we are is a second hand version handed to us by our family, society and culture and moulded by the forces of politics and marketing.

Yogi Bhajan often talked about mental beaming; giving the mind a regular experience of an infinite horizon to maintain us at the level and calibre of a basic human being.

Then our perception is not clouded, we are not caught in our emotional dramas and we can live beyond certain parameters we are born into and the conditioning we are subject to.

Meditation is a process of cleansing the subconscious where much of our fearful conditioning lays hidden.

Otherwise the subconscious overflows into the conscious mind – this is the beginning of stress.

“Stress is; how much we indiscriminately let the physical, emotional and mental environment influence us, which equates with how much we let the external environment dictate what is important. Through a lack of a sense of what is important, we invest much of our energy on the unimportant. It is useful to develop the capacity to negate the unimportant and to affirm the important. This also means taking time to save time (meaning investment in training the mind and body)…. This requires regulation of lifestyle in things like diet, sleep and sexual activity. ” (SCS)

Mental beaming is only possible when we are not dominated by the ego mind which we usually are.

It’s not that the ego is without purpose but it will keep us attached to the more mundane aspects of our existence and will resist the suggestion that we have a soul and are connected to spirit.

We are reminded of this connection through meditation.

So inclined are we to forget that a daily reminder is needed, hence a daily practice of meditation is recommended.

The Connection Between Thoughts and Behaviour

First we have a thought, then a thought about the thought (a double thought), then a feeling, then an emotion, then a desire, acting on the desire we create (or clear) karma.

This chain reaction starts innocently enough and over time well-worn grooves become established.

So much so that going from a thought to acting on our desire can happen in a split second and frequently does.

We often assume we are making choices consciously, for example how much of the time are you taking into account what you really want to eat.

This is not just about what tastes good but also what your body intrinsically needs at that particular time.

More often we choose from a limited range of options on auto pilot.

When we take a moment to check in before reaching out it almost always ends up being more tasty, satisfying and nourishing.

In the same vein the ritual of saying grace to tune in before eating is not just to give thanks but also to make you calm so that you eat your food slowly and consciously.

The capacity to choose wisely is helped by an enhanced sensory awareness.

One of the many benefits of Kundalini yoga and meditation is sharpened hearing, eye sight and taste buds.

Your sense of smell and touch also heighten. At the same time our ability to shut out distracting influences increases our intuition and focus.

The Imposition of the Mind


If we consider disease as coming from the top down; an imposition of the mind on the body, then healing is a process to take us back through the desire to act, to the emotion behind the desire, to the feeling, to liberate the thought pattern that set the whole sequence in motion.

On the way we set up new cycles of positive reinforcement that make us feel good and establish more creative and life affirming ways of thinking and being.

If You Don’t Go Within, You Go Without


It doesn’t matter what your external life is like, if you don’t have access to the soul you are poor.

The teachings encourage us to; turn our attention inward by closing down the nine holes (sensory orifices) so that our inner light can shine.

Our self-illumination can then shine a light for others.

Meditation is very helpful for this.

Keeping the body as healthy as possible for as long as possible means that it’s aches and pains don’t become a burden that distract us from achieving our destiny.

Yoga is very helpful for this.

It is essential that we direct the mind by tuning into the destiny of our soul. Chanting is very helpful for this.

Kundalini Yoga brings together yoga, meditation and chanting.

Add to this healthy eating, herbal medicine, and interventions such as acupuncture and we have a formidable package for total health and healing.



Dis-ease can be seen as part of our karma rather than a battle to beat symptoms into submission which doesn’t consider the cause.

Karma takes into account constitutional strengths and weaknesses (7 generations before and after us), lifestyle and behaviour.

The opportunity is to see how our lifestyle is creating health or undermining it.

Yoga postures, meditations/holistic treatments can be given to work on inherent weaknesses within each element, organ and system.

We have understood that the body is a vehicle for the soul and that this is the reason it needs to be cared for.

Then it is not a drag on us and we can focus on what we are here to do.

There is intentional and unintentional illness; if we continue to repeat patterns that are unhealthy over time we will cause mental and physical dis-ease and the purpose of our life as a spiritual being will be obscured.

The Buddha gave us the four noble truths:

  1. Life means suffering
  2. The origin of suffering is attachment
  3. Cessation of suffering is attainable
  4. The path to the cessation of suffering is dharma

Dharma is the door (dhar) beyond death; the Mother (ma); we are born through the Mother and we die through the Mother – Kali is the Hindu goddess of death, the black hole that everything dies into.

To become deathless we need to live for the soul’s journey which, paradoxically means we need to go beyond the physical body to the radiant body, but to do that we need to keep the physical body as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Kundalini Yoga gives us an awareness of our habits and the chance to see the consequences of our actions before we start the sequence, so that we don’t create more karma.

It gives us grit, endurance and an invincible spirit.

An Introduction to Numerology – The One | The Stomach

Winter. The first season.

During Winter our energies tend to gather more deeply inside. Things freeze over, the colder days cause us to contract, this can imply pressure, like the internal pressure building up inside a seed. Less daylight has meant that we are encouraged to cultivate our own inner light. We have planted the seeds of our future growth and intention. Hopefully some of these are starting to germinate. The days are growing longer and we have the sense of new beginnings. There is still a sense of waiting and perhaps needing to be patient in this time of transition but things are starting to stir.

The Seasonal Cleanse.

During Winter we go within to consolidate and reflect. Our energies gather deeper and more internally as the nights draw in and the weather becomes colder. It is natural at this time to eat more and to be less active. However once Christmas has come and gone we start to feel weighed down with the extra blankets and the extra food. Rather than feeling sluggish like we are being dragged protesting it is great to be ready for Spring so that we can meet that energy fully alive and ready for the year ahead. Come February or March depending on how quickly it warms up (not good to fast or eat a lot less when it is still cold) a spring clean is a good idea;

Let’s explore the connection between the Stomach and our emotional/psychological life.

Stomach. The First Organ.

Holistic Medicine means that there are connections between the mind and the body, between the emotional and physical, the psyche and the spirit. These are connections that were explored deeply by the ancient masters of the healing arts.

Let’s explore the connection between the Stomach and our emotional/psychological life.

Food is first taken in via the Stomach. How we feed ourselves and what we choose to feed ourselves is often difficult to determine. The Stomach energy does not discriminate. When we don’t anticipate the consequence of our actions it devours anything that excites it’s appetite. Smell is the trigger. The smell of freshly baked bread, the scent of a woman/man, pine needles, sea salt from ocean spray.

The mouth is the start of the entry into the stomach. The taste buds are first activated by smell and the stomach starts to secrete its juices. Oral fixations can develop as we try to replace the deep contentment we felt in the arms of our Mother suckling at the breast or the fact that we didn’t receive this we may substitute with smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol. Then there’s the images that excite the appetite; a naked body, sexually suggestive and explicit language and posturing. How the right car is supposed to turn you into a sexual magnet for the opposite sex. All of these things attempting to create an appetite, desire.

Your appetite is your lust for life? What do you do to satisfy it? How much do you live by your instincts and immediate gratification and how much do you live by your intuition? When do you have to suck it to see and when is it best avoided? How do we know when to act and when not to?

We live by our vices or by our virtues, by our animal nature or by our humanity. It is well to bear in mind that to the extent we serve one thing something else in us dies.

In Chinese Medicine the Stomach is called the official in charge of the public granaries and it grants the five tastes. A granary is a building for storing grain. A grain is a small hard seed like particle. We have sayings such as ‘a grain of truth ‘or ‘going against the grain’ (interestingly this phrase is often used to suggest a lack of compliance with the present status quo when it’s original meaning is much more likely to have meant going against the natural order) We need to find our grain of truth, to gravitate down into the essence of ourselves so that we can nurture the truth, the seed of our potential, our soul.

What are we giving birth to and how do we access our potential? If we think of our inner, as yet hidden potential as the inside of a seed we know that we need the right kind of environment, the right conditions and patience and the seed will create the internal pressure to break through the outer shell. This is really about us breaking through our perceived limitations and growing towards the light.

Practically it is good to regulate sugar intake as too much sugar will lead to dispersion and a lack of grounding and focus. You are what you eat and this determines the quality of the blood through which the soul moves through the body.

Exercises, yoga sets and meditations for the one

It is good to work on the spine and our sense of grounding. It is most important, especially in yoga that the spine is kept straight for it is through the spine that the consciousness rises transforming as it moves from the lower to the higher chakras.